Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Fool's Gold: Banning Skype at SJSU

Kyle Hansen and Steve Sloan have already blogged about SJSU banning Skype as of tomorrow (pdf here), so I'd like to $imply and intellectually express why this development is an amazingly short-sighted move on the part of the University.

Web 2.0 and the technologies it employs are clearly the wave of the future, as aggregators grow and manufacturers consolidate while laying off employees to hold profit margins high.

This can be seen in the dwindling number of newspaper chains in the country, while companies like Digg, Google News, Skype and Myspace are flourishing.

It can also be seen in the number of actual reporters per news agency decreasing. (I am a print journalism major, hence the print spin)

Why is Web 2.0 the wave of the future?

Because the programs that make it up allow business and individuals to collaborate on a level unprecedented in human history - for free!

Content and value are created from places previously unimagineable, and education speeds up. Imagine a world where India never spoke to Silicon Valley, where San Francisco never created Craigslist, where China... hmm, I guess that one's still a work in progress.

"Wait a minute," says the University, "it's a different situation with programs like Skype, because of the cost to lay more fiberoptic cable needed to handle the increased traffic."

True. But here's what I like to call a long-term investment, kind of like, oh say, EDUCATION.

By creating opportunities for students to talk to countries they otherwise could not - by creating conversation between Universities and exposing everyone to the marketplace of ideas which schools are supposed to prize above all else - you create a more knowledgeable and profitable citizenry (and alumni base).So, yes, the University can save money now by prohibiting the use of programs like Skype, but it is a fool's gold they seek.

Technology innovation is the lifeblood of all modern economies, and communication the vein in which it flows.

Phew, that was a long one.

Someone call Milton, I think I may need some help here.